Liam Power, aged 52, of no fixed abode, is charged with murdering Gints Intembergs, aged 41, at Graigowen, Tullow, Co Carlow, between September 15 and 16, 2014.
When arraigned at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Power pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter. This plea was not accepted by the State and a jury was sworn in to try him and his co-accused. Mr Power also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Aigar Sildars, causing him harm at the same address and on the same dates.
Dzintars Sackalausks, aged 33, of Barrowvale, Graiguecullen, Co Carlow, is also charged with murdering Gints Intembergs at the same address and on the same dates. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. Mr Sackalausks also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Aigar Sildars, causing him harm at the same address and on the same dates.
Counsel for the State, Paul Greene SC, yesterday called Aigar Sildars to give evidence.
The Latvian witness told the court he was “an acquaintance” of Gints Intembergs and was drinking in his house from the morning of September 15.
Mr Sildars told the court he saw the deceased take a phonecall at 7pm on September 15 and arising from that Mr Power and Mr Sackalausks arrived at the house.
The witness testified that he got “quiet drunk” and fell asleep on the couch in the living room that night.
A garda woke him up on the morning of September 16.
The prosecution called Gunita Lace, a neighbour of the late Mr Intembergs, to give evidence. The Latvian woman had spent the evening of September 15 in the deceased’s house with her friend Monika Metla.
Ms Lace was going to work at 6.10am on September 16 and passed Mr Intemberg’s house. The court heard she saw all the lights on in his house and there was also a car parked beside his house.
An hour later Ms Lace passed Mr Intemberg’s house again.
“I knocked on the door and Dzintars opened the door. The house was quite messy and Aigar was sleeping in the living room,” she said.
The witness said Mr Sackalausks brought her to the kitchen when she enquired after Mr Intembergs and there she saw a lot of blood.
“At first I thought it was a bunch of clothes on the floor and then I saw Gint’s head, he looked awful and I couldn’t recognise him,” she said. “I can’t even describe it as I had never seen anything like that in my life and it looked very bad. His head was double the size it normally would be. His face was really beaten up badly.”
Her friend Monika Metla came to the house soon after, the court heard.
The witness told the court she later saw Mr Sackalausks drive into Tullow town while she was waiting for gardaí at the edge of her estate.
Ms Lace agreed with Mr Patrick Gageby SC, defending Mr Sackalausks, that his client said to her it was not him who did that to Mr Intembergs.
The trial continues.